Sarada and her aware students

Project name: Promoting and strengthening school safety in Nepal through operationalising the Comprehensive School Safety Framework (CSSF)

Funded by: European Commission-Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DGECHO)

Goal: Children, communities and the government education and disaster management system in Nepal are more resilient to the impacts of disasters

Project duration: March 2015-December 2016

Nepal is highly vulnerable to a range of different disasters including earthquakes, landslides, floods and fires. Whilst there has been significant investment in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) throughout the country in recent years, the education sector still struggles to fully incorporate preparedness and DRR throughout its policies and programmes as well as make connections to Disaster Management (DM) authorities.

The Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR)Consortium consists of World Vision International Nepal, Save the Children and Plan International along with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT) as strategic partners. The consortium, in generalhasintervenedatthenational,sub-nationalandschoolandcommunitylevelandworked  through the existing government system to increase the resilience of children, communities as well as the government education and disaster management systems in Nepal to be better prepared for and able to respond to natural hazards. World Vision International Nepal, together with the consortium partners has ensured the School Sector Development Plan (SSDP) reflects the three pillars of the Comprehensive School Safety Framework (CSSF) and a DRR package is included in the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Programme.

As a result, 799 schools in Doti and Kailali have received DRR guidelines and training packages which the consortium helped to develop. World Vision has supported the development of a national education sector contingency plan, and actively engaged District Education Offices as well as trained district level trainers in the DRR package.

At the community level, in all 22 target schools of Doti and Kailali districts, two teachers and one head teacher plus School Management Committee (SMC) members have been trained on Disaster Risk Management. Children and young people have received lessons on DRR and are leading activities in their schools and communities. To date, World Vision has taken a system strengthening approach of working with and through the education authorities to ensure sustainability, cost-effectiveness,  replication  and scaling up. The national level activities have focused on policy strengthening, system integration, harmonising tools and building relationships with stakeholders. High levels of advocacy and communication (such as TV talk shows, seminars, media articles, etc) have also supported these activities. The consortium has also built strong working relationships with the education authorities, especially the DRR Unit, the National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) and the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). Consortium also established a steering committee of both government and civil society and UN agencies to increase support for DRR within the education authorities and other actors. 

An illustrated map above the barbed-wire fence greets visitors to Shree Laxmi Lower Secondary School in Pratappur Village Development Committee, Kailali. Painted in yellow, red and green, the map gives an overview of what is located where within the school compound and I know how to find my way round. The gate opens  to the grassy playground where a group of students and some of the staff are sitting in a circle. In the centre is Sarada Saud, 32, who teaches the students of classes  5 to 8. She shares about her involvement in the Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) project being run in the school by World Vision.

Sarada represents the school in different disaster-related activities. For instance after attending the Training of Trainers (ToT) training on disaster/epidemic, she and the head teacher conducted a session where disaster risk mitigation, school safety, and mock preparation exercises were highlighted. Following that session, a risk assessment was held in the school during which the need for an illustrated map of the school was pointed out. That led to the school putting up the map which now sits in full view at the entrance to the school. Sarada shares that what she learnt in the training helped a lot with the map-making, especially with the indicators that she did not know much of before. She also attended first aid training. What stuck with her was the method of treating a snake bite. The usual advice is to tie above and below the snake bite, but Sarada learnt that it is better to tie the wound itself to prevent the infection from spreading at all. It helps greatly if one is able to catch the snake and take it to the medical practitioner so as to enable him to identify the specific type of poison and the most effective anti-venom.

At this time, Krishna (14) demonstrates the triangular method of tying a bandage that he learnt during the first-aid training and says, “If not for the training, I would not have known all this. Now I know three ways of tying a bandage!”

Given its proximity to a nearby river, the school has identified floods and storms as the major disasters that could affect the area. To make parents aware, a Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meeting is called once a month to discuss the risks and how to alleviate them. Parents are also involved in disaster-related trainings and activities.